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Designing Non-Routine Knowledge Work Carolyn Ordowich and Douglas Austrom, Ph.D.

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Presentation on theme: "Designing Non-Routine Knowledge Work Carolyn Ordowich and Douglas Austrom, Ph.D."— Presentation transcript:

1 Designing Non-Routine Knowledge Work Carolyn Ordowich and Douglas Austrom, Ph.D.

2 Five Forces Shifting the Nature of Work Gratton CONTEXT OF WORK TECHNOLOGY GLOBALIZATION DEMOGRAPHY and LONGEVITY SOCIETY ENERGY RESOURCES Technological capability increases exponentially Five billion become connected The cloud becomes ubiquitous Continuous productivity gains Social participation increases The worlds knowledge becomes digitalized Mega-companies & micro-entrepreneurs emerge Ever-present avatars and virtual worlds Rise of cognitive assistants Technology replaces jobs 24/7 global world Emerging economies China & India decades of growth Frugal innovation Global educational powerhouses World becomes urban Continued financial bubbles and crashes Regional underclass emerge Families become rearranged The rise of reflexivity The role of powerful women The balanced man Growing distrust of institutions The decline of happiness Passive leisure increases Energy prices increase Environmental catastrophes displace people A culture of sustainability begins to emerge Ascendance of Gen Y Increasing longevity Some Baby Boomers grow old poor Global migration increases

3 Task Uncertainty / Ambiguity Complexity L H Routine Non-routine Manual Work Knowledge Work Change in nature of work Mixed Models Efficiency Effectiveness Innovation Quality Flexibility Service Sustainability Efficiency Shifting Nature of Work Degree/nature of interdependence Volatility Virtuality - time zones, ICT, language, geography X-boundaries - functional/ discipline, organizational, sector, national, cultural 3

4 What is Non-Routine Knowledge Work? The primary task of knowledge work is non-routine problem solving that requires a combination of convergent, divergent, and creative thinking (Reinhardt, Schmidt, Sloep, &Drachsler 2011). Knowledge work is typically non-repeated, unpredictable, and emergent. Knowledge work primarily involves the management of unstructured or semi-structured problems (Keen & Morton, 1978) characterized by imprecise information inputs, varying degrees of detail, extended or unfixed time horizons, dispersed information formats, and diffuse or general scope (Pava, 1983). 4

5 Evolution of Sociotechnical Systems Three Waves Wave One: 1950s- 1970s Wave Three: 1990s-Present Wave Two: 1970s- 1990s 5

6 Evolution of Sociotechnical Systems Wave One: 1950s-1970s Nature of the WorkDesign Principles* Routine work in single organizations Work groups with shared identity Single linear conversion process Joint optimization Compatibility Sociotechnical criterion and variance control Boundary location Information flow Design and human values Multifunctional principle: mechanism or organism Support congruence Transitional organization Minimum critical specification Incompletion * Albert Cherns, 1976 6

7 Evolution of Sociotechnical Systems Wave Two: 1970s-1990s Nature of the WorkDesign Principles** Non-routine face-to- face knowledge work in single organizations Individual performers with specialized expertise Multiple, concurrent nonlinear conversion processes Joint optimization Self-design by the members of the unit being changed Specify only those things that must be defined allowing for ongoing adaptation Multi-functionality and redundancy of functions Iterative and open- ended design process * Cal Pava, 1983 7

8 Evolution of Sociotechnical Systems Wave Three: 1990s- Present Nature of the WorkDesign Principles Virtual, non-routine work Work and workers distributed across multiple locations and/or organizations Information and communication technology enabled Multiple, concurrent, nonlinear, independent, and interdependent conversion processes An iVUCA world*** Whole systems optimization Align on shared purpose and mutually beneficial outcomes Promote dignity, meaning, challenge, mastery, autonomy, and self- determination Foster learning and knowledge sharing Supportive infrastructure and coordination system Minimum critical specifications Participative, iterative, real- time design, and mutual adaptation *** Interconnected, Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, and Ambiguous 8

9 STS Designing for Non-linear Knowledge Work 1.Design By Principles With new technologies, design is increasingly becoming the product itself created through a complex network of entities. It is the ideas behind the products (now made more and more by machines) that make the difference between success and failure. Ideas cant be organized the way physical objects can; people must be inspired to create and innovate. Competitive advantage is becoming an issue of not just actions, but beliefs. People are most likely to coalesce into groups of avid participants (high-performing employees, buyers, consumers, cause-backers, etc.) if the organization taps their strongest interests, talents and temperament through principles. 2.Design By Context Contexts are simple maps or frames that help us deal with complexity. They help to describe and handle certain parts of reality, but are not the reality itself. You can never fully understand complexity, but you can frame it within a certain context to solve a particular problem. The paradox is that by keeping the design frame simple, we can tackle complexity at every level. 9

10 Coordinating System* Deliberations* Pool of Shared Knowledge New Insights Informed Decisions and Action * Based on STS values and principles. Critical Design Elements for Designing Non- Routine Knowledge Work By Principles

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12 Three Contexts For Design Vertically Integrated Decentralized Organization Value Realization Network Issue-based Ecosystem vs. Vertically integrated centralized organization vs.. Traditional Supply Chains vs. Large institutional programs 12

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16 Key Unit of Analysis -> Deliberations Pava, 1983 Deliberations are patterns of exchange and communication in which people engage with themselves or others to reduce the equivocality of a problematic issue. The salient elements of a deliberation include the … Topics or problematic issues facing the social entity about which people reflect and communicate Forums in which they occur which may structured, semi-structured, or unstructured or ad hoc Participants both those who are currently involved and those who ideally should be involved in the deliberation. Coalitions whose purpose is to obtain the best outcomes from the inputs of multiple perspectives, a novel organizing principle, which pushes the static positions of the organization chart into the background. 16

17 Knowledge Work - the R&D Continuum Pure Research Work DONT KNOW WHAT we are looking for DONT KNOW HOW to carry out the research Pure Research Work DONT KNOW WHAT we are looking for DONT KNOW HOW to carry out the research Applied Research Work DONT KNOW WHAT (i.e. end state or objective) KNOW HOW to carry out the research Applied Research Work DONT KNOW WHAT (i.e. end state or objective) KNOW HOW to carry out the research Exploratory Development Work KNOW WHAT DONT KNOW HOW to achieve it Exploratory Development Work KNOW WHAT DONT KNOW HOW to achieve it Advanced Development Work KNOW WHAT DONT KNOW HOW IN DETAIL to achieve it Advanced Development Work KNOW WHAT DONT KNOW HOW IN DETAIL to achieve it Start-Up (pilot plants, beta testing) Development Work KNOW WHAT KNOW HOW CONCEPTUALLY to achieve it Start-Up (pilot plants, beta testing) Development Work KNOW WHAT KNOW HOW CONCEPTUALLY to achieve it Scale-Up (volume & costs) Development Work KNOW WHAT KNOW HOW OPERATIONALLY to achieve it Scale-Up (volume & costs) Development Work KNOW WHAT KNOW HOW OPERATIONALLY to achieve it R1R1 R2R2 D1D1 D4D4 D2D2 D3D3 17

18 Deliberations Across the Knowledge Generation Continuum R1-R2 Breakthroughs R1-R2 Breakthroughs MYSTERIES ALGORITHMS D3-D4 Optimization of Execution D3-D4 Optimization of Execution D1-D2 Enhancements and Extensions D1-D2 Enhancements and Extensions Sense Making Solution Generation High Uncertainty Exploratory Focus on effectiveness Dont know WHAT, dont know HOW Informal mutual adjustment Sense Making Solution Generation High Uncertainty Exploratory Focus on effectiveness Dont know WHAT, dont know HOW Informal mutual adjustment Value Realization Solution Delivery Low Uncertainty Prescriptive Focus on efficiency Know WHAT, know HOW Negotiated plans, SOPs, results Value Realization Solution Delivery Low Uncertainty Prescriptive Focus on efficiency Know WHAT, know HOW Negotiated plans, SOPs, results HEURISTICS 18

19 Coordination Complexity Across the Breakthrough-Optimization Continuum MysteryHeuristicAlgorithm 19


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